Bliss parents guide

Bliss Parent Guide

This movie is so bad it's almost impressive. On second thought, it's just bad.

Overall D

Amazon: Greg is going through a rough patch until he meets Isabel. She convinces him that the messy world around them is just an elaborate simulation...

Release date February 5, 2021

Violence C
Sexual Content C-
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Bliss rated R? The MPAA rated Bliss R for drug content, language, some sexual material and violence.

Run Time: 103 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Greg’s (Owen Wilson) life is coming apart at the seams. His wife has left him, his son Arthur (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) won’t talk to him, and he just got fired. Worse, he startled his boss (Steve Zissis), who slipped and fell, fatally cracking his skull. After hiding the body in the office, Greg retreats to the bar across the street to make a plan – only to bump into Isabel (Selma Hayek), who seems shocked to see him for the simple reason that he is “real”. As far as Isabel is concerned, this world is just a simulation, and there are only a handful of real people in it at any time. After taking some of the crystals she offers (which are supposed to unlock different powers within the simulation), Greg starts to come around to her point of view. The couple start living off-grid under an overpass, taking special crystals and having fun. But Greg’s daughter, Emily (Nesta Cooper) is concerned about him and tries repeatedly to convince him that the world is real. But what will Greg believe?

Bliss is, put bluntly, a disaster. The script is incredibly spotty, alternating between average and laughable, and that puts the cast in a bad position. Not that they need the help, since Owen Wilson and Selma Hayek, for all their individual acting achievements, have almost no chemistry with each other. I didn’t have high expectations for this movie, but this managed to drunkenly limbo under an already subterranean bar. It’s almost impressive.

I also don’t find the alleged utopia terribly convincing. First of all, it’s a sure sign that you’re in hell if people are walking around wearing trilbys. Second, eccentric Slovenian philosopher (and sometime film critic) Slavoj Žižek turns up, which is certainly an indication that your utopia has some problems. Bill Nye also appears on screen which improves things slightly – but only because I grew up on Bill Nye and love him more than several members of my family. (Your affection for the Science Guy may vary.)

Obviously, the content makes this unsuitable for a younger audience, but they’re not missing anything here. The stupid script and wooden romance make this unbearable for adults, and the lazy philosophy doesn’t help any. There are a lot of “simulation theory” style movies out there, and this just doesn’t compete with the others on any ground. Bliss is, in a word, sophomoric. And that’s assuming that the writer is a real college sophomore and wrote the script with a blinding hangover before printing it out and forcing his classmates in a first-year creative writing course to trudge through it. Trust me, I took one of those courses. I’ve read stuff like this…and worse, if you can believe it.

Directed by Mike Cahill. Starring Owen Wilson, Salma Hayek, and Nesta Cooper. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release February 5, 2021. Updated

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Rating & Content Info

Why is Bliss rated R? Bliss is rated R by the MPAA for drug content, language, some sexual material and violence.

Violence: A character accidentally dies when they trip and hit their head on a desk. The body later falls out of a window. Several individuals are deliberately tripped. A number of people are likely killed when their van is crushed. A man’s throat is cut. A person is maced, punched in the head, and carjacked. An individual is shot and killed.
Sexual Content: There are references to prostitution, and several prostitutes are seen. A man’s posterior is seen. A couple are implied to have sex in a public bathroom, and again later in a private shower.
Profanity: There are 25 uses of extreme profanity and 10 uses of scatological profanity. Occasional mild profanity and terms of deity are also used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An individual is shown abusing prescription medication. Several characters are shown smoking marijuana. A man is shown trying to sell heroin, albeit unsuccessfully. Individuals are shown taking mysterious crystals, which are either drugs or simply tools in a simulation.

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Bliss Parents' Guide

How do you determine what is real? What do you believe is the purpose of your life? How do you decide what is important to you? How do you act on those priorities?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

Anything by Phillip K Dick. Almost literally anything. Try some Plato if you’re feeling adventurous, and some Kierkegaard or Camus if you’re feeling really adventurous.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

I think the movie which handles this philosophical concept most aptly is Inception. Other reality-bending films include Blade Runner, The Matrix, and Shutter Island. If you want to see how stupid the underlying philosophy of simulation theory is, A Glitch in the Matrix is one option…but I wouldn’t recommend it.